What’s happening at Plainridge?

For a long time, we’ve been hearing that the Plainridge Park Casino was a monumental slacker. The Plainville facility opened in June last year amid projections that it could bring in as much as $300 million in its first year, at worst $200 million. But state officials eventually scaled those forecasts back to $160 million and there wasn’t a lot of optimism that even the lower revenue target could be maintained.

Keller@Large called the casino a flop. The Boston Globe’s headline in late December was “Plainridge casino now slotted for disappointment.”

But on Tuesday the general manager of the casino, Lance George, told state gaming regulators that the slots parlor on a per-machine basis is generating the highest revenue in the country. George said the 1,250 slot machines on average generated $346 a day in revenue during the third quarter. “It’s the highest. It’s the highest in the country,” he said.

Stephen Crosby, the chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, quickly seized on the revenue report to proclaim the state’s first gambling facility a success. “This is one thing that I think is useful for the public to appreciate, because we all had these very extravagant original projections, which we didn’t end up making,” Crosby said. “But we are, in fact, you are, in fact, doing extraordinarily well. It’s going incredibly well at Plainridge, which is an impression we would like to correct out there.”

There was little explanation on how the casino went from bust to boom, but one possibility is that Plainridge’s decision to pay out more money in winnings is attracting more customers willing to place bets. As the Globe’s Sean Murphy explained in September, the casino is taking a smaller cut of wagers and returning more money to gamblers in winnings. The result is more spending per machine but less profit for the casino.

In its first eight months of operation, Plainridge withheld about 8.75 percent of all bets, a percentage that fell to 7.5 percent over the next six months. The result is more happy gamblers — and possibly an expanding customer base — but less revenue for the state and Plainridge, which is operated by Penn National.

BRUCE MOHL

 

BEACON HILL

Newton Mayor Setti Warren, who is not running for reelection next year, has begun fundraising for a 2018 Democratic challenge to Gov. Charlie Baker, reports the Globe.

Gaunt but grateful, former House speaker Sal DiMasi arrived back in Boston yesterday after five years in federal prison. (Boston Globe)

Lawmakers are trying to reach a deal before the end of the year on noncompete legislation. (Masslive)

A Lowell Sun editorial slams Rep. Cory Atkins of Concord for not returning or disposing of campaign contributions she received from the Thornton Law Firm, which is under investigation for making straw donations through members of the firm.

Attorney General Maura Healey seeks dismissal of a legal challenge to her notice on how she plans to enforce the law on copycat assault weapons. (Masslive)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Springfields’s chief development officer lists $3.3 billion in ongoing and recent projects at a meeting with business leaders. (Masslive)

Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter’s spending decisions are once again coming under fire as he ordered a review after records show he used city money on purchases such as flowers from a shop owned by a city councilor and “suits for burial” to attend funerals. (The Enterprise)

Questions are being raised over whether Quincy holds air rights over MBTA stations where a proposal is being made to develop the parking lot for a mixed-use complex at the North Quincy station. (Patriot Ledger)

The chairman of the Ashland Board of Health lambasted fellow member K.G. Narayana for his “stunt” in presenting a report that Narayana says shows the board has become more productive since his election. (MetroWest Daily News)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

President-elect Donald Trump met with reporters and editors of the New York Times — a meeting that itself was mired in confusion and controversy — and changed his tone on some of his campaign bluster. He backed off promises to jail Hillary Clinton, professed respect for the paper, expressed doubt about the efficacy of torture, and moderated his views on climate change. Here’s a transcript of the interview.

The Trump effect: “at the very least we are seeing an erosion of democratic norms in America,” says Dartmouth’s Brendan Nyhan. (The Atlantic)

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will be tapped as US ambassador to the United Nations. (Associated Press)

The all-Democratic Massachusetts House delegation is of mixed minds on whether their party should retain Nancy Pelosi as minority leader. (Boston Globe)

ELECTIONS

Renee Loth says too much “micro-targeting” and identity politics were at play in this month’s presidential election. (Boston Globe)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

All three major US stock indexes continued to set record highs in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory, with the Dow breaking the 19,000-point mark for the first time. (U.S. News & World Report)

The Trump Foundation appears to admit to self-dealing, according to its IRS filing. (Washington Post)

What’s next for Fidelity Investments in the post-Ned Johnson era? (Boston Globe)

MassPIRG released its annual list of dangerous toys that includes items that are still on the market despite being recalled because of lead content, small parts that can cause choking, and battery units that can overheat. (Wicked Local)

A Bristol Superior Court judge has ordered animal owners at a controversial tenants’ farm in Westport to pay the expenses incurred by the ASPCA when officials removed more than 1,400 sick and abused animals last summer or he will turn over control of the livestock and farm to the humane organization. (Herald News)

EDUCATION

Massachusetts Teachers Association President Barbara Madeloni urges her members to battle back against intolerance sown by Donald Trump — and against standardized testing that she says is also a threat to schools’ ability to “engage in pedagogies of freedom and hope.”

Salem State University shuts down an art exhibit that includes a painting of Ku Klux Klansmen after complaints surfaced on social media. (Salem News)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

With Donald Trump threatening to repeal Obamacare, local health care advocates are pressing state lawmakers to include a provision in state law that would require insurers to pay for birth control. (Gloucester Times)

TRANSPORTATION

The private companies operating commuter rail service in Boston and Denver are both facing big fines for poor performance. Denver Transit Partners, the Colorado operator, is a joint venture that includes some of the key players in the company that used to run commuter rail service in the Boston area. (Governing)

The MBTA failed to collect $1.8 million owed to the agency, Auditor Suzanne Bump reports. (Masslive)

New guidelines being issued by federal traffic safety regulators call on cellphone makers to develop a “driver mode” similar to airplane mode that will block or modify certain apps to keep drivers’ attention on the road. (New York Times)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The town of Barnstable has filed a multi-million dollar suit against six manufacturers of firefighting foam, including multinational conglomerate 3M. The foam was used at a former firefighter training academy and Barnstable Municipal Airport that officials say dangerous chemicals leached into and contaminated drinking wells in the region. (Cape Cod Times)

CASINOS

The state gambling commission is trying to figure out what the legalization of marijuana may mean for the casino world. (Boston Herald)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Homicides are up 20 percent in Boston so far this year compared with the same period in 2015, though total shootings, fatal and nonfatal, are at almost exactly the same level. (Boston Herald)

A Lawrence man is charged with beating a transgender individual at a social club. (Eagle-Tribune)

Cambridge police are defending the actions of a plainclothes sergeant whose October streetcorner encounter with a 21-year-old black man has stirred controversy and debate. (Boston Globe)

Springfield Police Deputy Chief Mark Anthony raised concerns about the thoroughness of internal affairs investigations. (Masslive)

A Shrewsbury man and a woman from Hudson were arrested for having sex on a lawn at 11 p.m. within 200 feet of an elementary school. The arresting officer wrote in his report that the man and woman were “charged with disturbing the peace due to the fact that intercourse in public tends to annoy all good citizens and it did in fact disturb multiple people.” (Telegram & Gazette)

MEDIA

Boston Globe reporter Matt Viser recounts his through-the-looking-glass experience of an appearance on CNN that quickly led to him being mistakenly identified on social media a leader of the anti-Semitic alt-right movement.

An election night Facebook live feed drives a lot of traffic to BostonGlobe.com. (Medium)